Movies to Avoid to Keep Your Peace of Mind

If thinking about H1N1 makes your blood pressure rise, here are some movies to steer clear of. Take them off the Netflix queue, put the boxes back on the shelves, or change the channel to avoid full-on plague paranoia.



With the exception of our vice president, everyone agrees that there’s no reason to panic about swine flu right now. So far, a majority of the cases in the United States haven’t shown any more muscle than the regular, non-porcine variety of flu. Still, have you noticed people lingering a little bit longer while washing their hands, or busting out the Purell a little more often? (In our offices, a couple of new hand-sanitizer dispensers have mysteriously appeared in our hallways.)

While there’s nothing wrong with being serious about good hygiene, no one wants to be stressed. If thinking about H1N1 makes your blood pressure rise, here are some movies to steer clear of. Take them off the Netflix queue, put the boxes back on the shelves, or change the channel to avoid full-on plague paranoia.

Twelve Monkeys
The warped mind of Terry Gilliam extrapolates a pandemic beyond its worst-case scenario — humans have to live underground because the Earth's surface remains disease-ridden.

Outbreak
More than 10 years later, I still have vivid movies of the shot of a person sneezing on one end of a movie theater, followed by the germ's-eye-view camera pan over to another patron yawning at the other end of the auditorium. The movie does not end well for either of those people.

28 Days Later
Not only does the virus in this film turn the afflicted into mutants that are faster, stronger, and all-around scarier than your typical zombies — the way the military acts to contain the spread is even more frightening.

 Children of Men movie

The Omega Man
The only thing worse than being overly cautious about avoiding disease is being so good at it that you're the last human left.

Children of Men or Blindness
Yikes. These films speculate that, when pandemics get bad, people turn a little, well, uncivilized.
 

Anything else to add to the list? Any books, TV shows, or songs to avoid? (Y: the Last Man comes to mind.) Let me know in the comments.

 

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Marisa LaScala

Marisa LaScala
Elmsford, NY


Associate Editor Marisa LaScala joined Westchester magazine in 2003, and ever since she's blown every paycheck at the Greenburgh Multiplex. She also staunchly defends Richard Kelly, doesn't mind spoiling the endings of trashy movies you're curious about but don't want to pay to see, wishes the Hold Steady would come back and rock out Westchester, misses Arrested Development more than anyone can imagine, and still watches cartoons and Saturday Night Live. You can find more of her cultural criticism at www.popmatters.com, where she is a staff writer.

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